Sunday, November 29, 2015

"It's a time bomb"

Just this past Thanksgiving weekend, I finished "Too Big to Fail" about the collapse of the housing market and the chaos that swallowed Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, and nearly brought down the entire U.S. economy.

Now I see that in December there's a movie based on the other side of the housing market: the guys who made a huge bet that real estate was hugely over-extended, over-valued, and over-leveraged.  I read the Michael Lewis book "The Big Short" when it first came out in 2011 and I can't wait for the movie.

By the way, for those of you who don't know, to "short" an investment (stock, fund, real estate, etc.) means you're betting the price of something will go down while most buyers in the market are hoping the value of an investment will go up.  In "Too Big to Fail", certain CEOs (notably Dick Fuld of Lehman) were reported to have railed against short sellers as the bottom-feeders of the investment world, preaching doom and gloom to drive down a stock price.  In reality (IMHO) they were exposing weaknesses in certain companies that deserved to be exploited.  If Lehman was a solid company, the short-sellers would have gone broke.  But instead Lehman, along with many other investment companies, were hobbled by terrible real estate investments and the short-sellers were the Cassandras of Wall Street.

No comments: